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Bohol Shopping Guide: From Local Delights to Treasured Souvenirs

Bohol, with its captivating scenery and unique wildlife, offers an unforgettable travel experience. But your Bohol adventure wouldn’t be complete without bringing home a piece of the island. This shopping guide will take you through the vibrant shopping scene in Bohol, from delectable local delicacies to handcrafted treasures.

Indulge in Bohol’s Delectable Treats (Pasalubong)

No trip to the Philippines is complete without trying the local delicacies, and Bohol is no exception. These treats make for excellent pasalubong (presents brought home for loved ones).

bohol shopping guide for clothes
T-shirts with native and colorful designs
  • Boholano Beef: Bohol boasts some of the country’s best-tasting beef. For easy transport, opt for vacuum-packed versions like longganisa (sausage) or tapa (cured beef).
  • Calamay: This sticky, sweet rice dessert comes in various flavors, such as mango, guava, and ube (purple yam). It’s a delightful and affordable treat.
  • Peanut Kisses: Bohol’s peanut kisses are delightfully crunchy and melt-in-your-mouth. They’re a classic pasalubong and a crowd-pleaser.
  • Buko Pie: This delightful pastry features a flaky crust filled with young coconut meat and condensed milk. It’s a quintessential Boholano dessert.
  • Chocolate Hills Tarts: Inspired by the iconic Chocolate Hills, these bite-sized treats are made with rich chocolate and a buttery crust.

Treasured Souvenirs: A Piece of Bohol for Home

Bohol is a haven for souvenir hunters, offering various unique and locally-made items.

  • Tarsier Merchandise: The adorable tarsier, Bohol’s mascot, is a popular souvenir theme. Find everything from plush toys and keychains to t-shirts and tote bags featuring these wide-eyed creatures.
  • Handwoven Crafts: Bohol is renowned for its intricate and beautiful handwoven products. Look for abaca bags, placemats, and table runners showcasing the island’s rich weaving tradition.
  • Seashells and Pearl Jewelry: Bohol’s stunning beaches offer a bounty of seashells. Local artisans transform these shells into beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. You can also find elegant pearl jewelry, a perfect souvenir for a special someone.
  • Antequera Basketware: The town of Antequera is famous for its intricately woven baskets made from abaca fibers. These baskets come in various sizes and designs, perfect for home decor or functional use.
  • Wood Carvings: Bohol’s skilled wood carvers create exquisite pieces like religious statues, decorative items, and even furniture. These intricate carvings are a testament to Bohol’s artistic heritage.
bohol shopping guide
Bohol souvenir shop

Embrace the Local Flavor: Malls and Public Markets

Bohol offers a diverse shopping experience catering to all preferences.

  • Island City Mall and BQ Mall are the largest malls in Tagbilaran City, Bohol’s capital. Here, you’ll find a wide range of international and local brands, department stores, cinemas, and restaurants.
  • Alturas Malls: Across Bohol, Alturas Malls offers a mix of local shops, supermarkets, and fast-food chains. They’re convenient for everyday essentials and quick bites.
  • Tagbilaran Public Market: Explore the Tagbilaran Public Market to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. Here, you’ll find fresh produce, seafood, spices, local delicacies, and a vast selection of souvenirs at bargain prices.

Popular Tourist Buys: Must-Haves from Bohol

Here are some of the top items tourists love to take home from Bohol:

  • Handwoven Abaca Products: Abaca, a sturdy and natural fiber, is transformed into beautiful bags, baskets, placemats, and other functional and decorative items.
  • Chocolate Hills-themed Delights: From cookies and candies to keychains and t-shirts, anything featuring the iconic Chocolate Hills makes for a fun and unique souvenir.
  • Boholano Beef Products: Bohol’s high-quality beef makes excellent pasalubong. Choose from longganisa, tapa, or even vacuum-packed steaks to share the deliciousness with loved ones back home.
  • Seashell Crafts and Pearl Jewelry: Bohol’s stunning beaches provide a treasure trove of seashells. Local artisans create beautiful jewelry, keychains, and decorative items showcasing the beauty of the sea.
  • Tarsier Souvenirs: Plush toys, keychains, magnets, and T-shirts featuring the adorable tarsier are popular and adorable ways to remember your encounter with these unique creatures.

Insider Tips for Savvy Shoppers

  • Bargaining: Haggling is a common practice in public markets and souvenir shops. Be polite and respectful while negotiating a fair price.
  • Support Local Artisans: Look for shops and stalls run by local artisans or cooperatives. This ensures your money directly supports the community.
  • Quality Check: When buying handcrafted items, inspect them closely for quality. Look for strong weaving, secure stitching, and well-finished details.
  • Packing Smartly: Pack your souvenirs carefully, especially fragile items like wood carvings and seashell crafts. Consider using bubble wrap or sturdy packaging materials.
  • Check Regulations: Be mindful of regulations on bringing certain items back to your home country. For example, some countries restrict importing animal products like seashells or coral.

Beyond the Shopping Bags: Unique Experiences in Bohol

While shopping is a fun way to experience Bohol’s culture, consider these unique experiences to immerse yourself truly:

  • Weaving Workshops: Learn the art of abaca weaving at a local workshop. This hands-on experience allows you to appreciate the skill and dedication behind Boholano crafts.
  • Visit a Chocolate Hills Farm: See the iconic Chocolate Hills up close and discover the fascinating geological processes that formed them. Some farms offer tours and even let you try local chocolate made with Boholano cacao.
  • Explore the Loboc River: Take a relaxing cruise along the Loboc River and enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at a floating restaurant. Spot local wildlife and admire the lush scenery along the riverbanks.
  • Volunteer at a Wildlife Sanctuary: Get close to rescued tarsiers and wildlife at a local sanctuary. Volunteering your time supports conservation efforts and allows you to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

Bohol offers more than just breathtaking landscapes. With its vibrant shopping scene, delectable local treats, and unique handicrafts, Bohol provides a memorable experience for every visitor. So, pack your bags, embrace the local culture, and bring home a piece of Bohol’s magic!

gift shop in bohol
Native products from Bohol

Safety Tips for Savvy Shoppers in Bohol

While Bohol is generally a safe place for tourists, it’s always wise to be cautious. Here are some tips for a secure shopping experience:

  • Be Mindful of Your Belongings: Keep your valuables close to you, especially in crowded markets. Consider using a crossbody bag or a money belt for added security.
  • Beware of Petty Theft: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Don’t leave your bags unattended; keep an eye on your belongings while bargaining.
  • Know the Fair Price: Before purchasing anything, research the typical price range for the item. This helps you avoid being overcharged.
  • Use Reputable Money Exchange Services: Exchange your currency at authorized money changers or banks. Avoid using street vendors, as the exchange rate might be unfair.
  • Carry Cash and Small Bills: While some shops accept credit cards, carrying cash is wise, particularly in smaller shops and public markets. Having small bills makes it easier to pay and receive change.

Beyond the City Center: Exploring Towns for Unique Crafts

While Tagbilaran City offers a diverse shopping experience, venturing beyond the city center allows you to discover specific towns known for their unique crafts:

  • Loboc: This town along the Loboc River is famous for its skilled wood carvers. Find intricate religious statues, decorative items, and furniture showcasing their artistry.
  • Carmen: Carmen is known for its peanut industry and delicious peanut kisses. Here, you can find various peanut-based treats and delicacies, perfect for pasalubong.
  • Dauis: Dauis, home to the Bohol Panglao International Airport, boasts a thriving pearl industry. Explore shops selling beautiful and elegant pearl jewelry at competitive prices.
  • Baclayon: This historic town is known for its intricate hand-embroidered “calado” products like table runners, napkins, and handkerchiefs.
  • Loay: Loay is famous for producing “buri,” a palm leaf that creates beautiful hats, bags, and mats.

Embrace the Boholano Spirit: Supporting Local Artisans

When shopping in Bohol, consider supporting local artisans and cooperatives. This benefits the community and ensures you’re getting authentic and high-quality products. Look for shops and stalls displaying signs like “locally made” or “artisanal crafts.”

By supporting local artisans, you preserve traditional skills and cultural heritage. It also helps sustain the livelihood of these talented individuals and their families.

Bringing Home More Than Memories: A Final Note

Bohol’s vibrant shopping scene offers something for everyone. From indulging in delectable local treats to finding unique handcrafted souvenirs, your shopping experience will be a delightful part of your Bohol adventure.

Remember, the best souvenirs are often not just the physical items but the memories you create while acquiring them. So, embrace the haggling experience, learn about the crafts from the artisans, and take a piece of Bohol’s magic home with you.

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